April 23, 2023

Cucumbers 2023

I will freely admit I am not a master gardener, but a novice at best. My grandfather was a Master. Oh, he never went to school or took classes for it, but he knew it. He lived it. His parents and grandparents' survival depended on the crops they raised and "put by" for the next year. He worked the garden right beside them. From my front porch, I can still see the area where they planted and it is about three acres in size. 

I wish I'd been able to learn more from him, but I needed to work a full-time job. After work, there was my first marriage to tend to, not that my efforts there were successful. Now I have time to garden and I'm learning almost from scratch. 

Pop grew cucumbers from time to time, but they weren't a staple in his garden. I recall that my grandmother would tell him she needed to make a batch of pickles (bread and butter) every few years, and he'd plant some cukes. Once the pickles were in the jars, the family got salad cucumbers because my grandparents didn't eat very many of them raw. 

This is the first year I started cucumber seeds inside. Nine seeds sprouted that have been transplanted into buckets in the garden patch. Cucumber is a fruit and is about ninety-five percent water. The seedlings are very tender and can't tolerate colder temperatures the way a tomato plant can. 

I knew I took a big chance getting the cukes outside this early. We're still ahead of our last frost date but my instinct tells me that while the temps are dipping into the mid to high thirties, we won't have frost. Nonetheless, I decided to hedge my gamble and move the cukes and tomatoes into the greenhouse for the next two nights. We had a good rain yesterday and the air is damp. I expect the greenhouse will add a layer of protection from the dampness settling on the leaves overnight. 

Planting early wasn't something my grandfather did, but we have new and improved varieties these days. If my cucumbers wilt due to the cold night, I still have time to direct sow more seed. If that happens, I'll consider it a lesson learned and stick to direct sowing from here on out. 

Live and learn.

The Lady of The Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, gardening, rural living, country lifestyle, cucumbers, tomatoes, greenhouse, freeze warning, a writer's life, simple country pleasures

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